U.S. Supreme Court Takes On San Diego Case Involving Warrantless Cellphone Searches
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Aired 4/1/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Pat Ford, Attorney
Alex Kreit, Associate Law Professor, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
One of the biggest Fourth Amendment cases to go before the U.S. Supreme Court in recent memory gets heard this month, and it originates from a case here in San Diego.
A man convicted of a San Diego gang-related shooting is asking for a new trial because some of the evidence was originally seized from his cellphone without a warrant when he was stopped for a traffic violation.
David Leon Riley's attorneys argue the cellphone searches violated Riley's Fourth Amendment right to unreasonable search and seizure.
Under California law, if you're arrested, police officers don't need a warrant to go through your cellphone.
In 2011, the California Supreme Court ruled these searches are legal, saying that defendants lose their privacy rights for any items they're carrying when taken into custody.
Meanwhile, law enforcement officials view cellphone searches as an invaluable tool to solve crimes.
Legal experts say this case will have a major impact on similar future cases as well as those that are pending or tied up the appeal process along with standard police procedure.
Oral arguments are set for April 29 with a decision expected by June.